Out with the old: Is it time for a content overhaul?

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Is your content striking the right note with your users or falling short of the mark?

Keeping your website interesting, relevant and well-organised plays a vital role in maintaining a regular flow of traffic. However, every once in a while, you should stop and ask yourself if your content is actually doing what you want it to. This might be the time when you decide a content overhaul is in order.

This article will talk you through the steps involved in analysing, organising and streamlining your website content, so it performs better, is more user-friendly, a better reflection of your organisation, and is generally more useful for your visitors.

This could involve a few tweaks on some key pages, an overall freshen up or it could kick-start a complete re-design and content overhaul.

How can I tell if my content’s in good shape?

There are a couple of simple questions you can ask that will go a long way towards answering whether you need a content overhaul:

1) Does your website help or hinder the user?

This question encompasses many areas that affect the overall user experience. For example, how do you think users feel when they visit your site? Does your site have clear and consistent messaging that reflects your organisation’s voice? Can users easily find answers to their questions? Is your content up-to-date? Is any important information missing?

2) Is your site easy to use?

This is an important question, as users will quickly bounce off your site if it isn’t user-friendly. Ask yourself the following: Is there a logic to how your site is organised? Is your site’s signposting effective, or does it leave users feeling lost and frustrated? Is your content written with the user in mind, or is it full of insider jargon? Is your content suitable for reading online – or is it devoid of white space and overflowing with long sentences? Do your pages have clear CTAs so the user knows what to do next? Do you have any technical issues (such as slow-loading pages) that need to be tackled?

You might want to consider carrying out a content audit at this stage, to delve into these areas in greater detail.

What next?

When you have a clearer idea of what’s working and what isn’t – either through the results of a content audit or your own analysis – the next stage is forming a plan to optimise your content.

There are some typical steps for coming up with solutions for organising and streamlining your content. These include:

1) Think about your audiences:

Your visitors are unlikely to originate from the same pool. For example, you might have a number of target groups each with different goals, knowledge and expertise. Make sure you have clearly identified your site’s users. Create user personas, and focus on your most relevant users first as they’re your priority. Don’t neglect your remaining visitors, however, as your content should work for everyone!

2) Create a clear structure:

Devise a logical structure for your content that’s easy to navigate. Remember to keep your users at the centre of this process and involve them by asking for feedback, e.g. through activities like focus groups.

3) Prioritise your most important content:

Think about the content that you need to cover in detail and where this should feature on your site. What are the key questions or problems users are looking to solve when they visit your site? Make sure these areas are addressed on your landing page to reassure visitors they’ve come to the right place.

4) Organise related content into groups:

Relevant, related content that’s grouped together on your site makes for a much-improved user experience. It also makes navigating your site far more intuitive.

5) Get rid of irrelevant content:

The most effective websites keep things simple! Avoid any unnecessary information or distractions and focus only on what’s relevant for the various stages of the user journey.

6) Refine, update and rewrite content as required:

If you have material that’s valid but in need of a little TLC or updating, don’t just purge it but put in a little work to make it fit for purpose.

7) Create new content:

Make a list of pages that need to be created to address any gaps in your content. If your organisation has changed over the years, make sure you create content that reflects and aligns with its current strengths and long-term goals.

What can I expect from the process?

Going through the steps above, should result in a better-structured site and a much-improved user experience.

Don’t automatically assume you need a complete content overhaul without taking the time to analyse the material you already have, then assess the level of work required from there.

And remember, spending a little time to sort out your website now, could avoid much more work in the future!